Lexington school still battling heat concerns four games into football season

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Friday night lights usually go hand-in-hand with football and fall weather.

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School officials use the Kestrel monitor to make sure temperatures and heat indices don't get too high for physical activities.

However, we're nearing the middle of September and high school officials are still battling the heat.

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School took extra precautions to keep players and fans safe ahead of their fourth football game of the season.

Players on game day are never far from their helmets and shoulder pads.

And Friday, there was another safety tool that stayed on the field all day.

"We use the Kestrel monitor,” Athletic trainer with UK Sports Medicine Cody Begley said. “It does the heat index, the wet bulb, wind speed, temperature, humidity, and it'll spit out a number for us."

Throughout the summer, trainers and coaches keep a close eye on that number, making necessary delays and even cancellations once it hits certain thresholds.

"They take helmets off, shoulder pads off if they’re not involved in a contact drill obviously,” Dunbar Athletic Director Jason Howell said. “We have mandatory water breaks every thirty minutes, plus we try to give them water breaks every ten minutes."

Those restrictions are typical as football and other teams practice during the hot summer months, but midway through September, it's usually less of a concern.

"It's hard, and it’s tough on our coaches number one because they've got to help monitor,” Howell said. “Cody can’t have eyes on everybody, I can’t have my eyes on everybody, so we've got to be in constant communication."

No matter the difficulties, the protocol remains the same.

"So, about every thirty minutes, we take a new measurement,” Begley said. “We always watch for those spikes to make sure that we're in our range."

So, as the players are fighting for a win, officials are making sure both sides of the stadium stay safe along the way.

"Not just the Dunbar family, but also our opponents and making sure that everybody is safe at the games," Howell said.

Originally scheduled for 6:30 p.m., the Dunbar vs. Frederick Douglass game got started just after 7 p.m. Friday, September 13.

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